Research Centre for Medical Genetics
1 Moskvorechye St,
Moscow 115522, Russian Federation
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RCMG Developed a Method of Pre-eclampsia Early Prediction in Pregnancy Based on the Analysis of Extracellular DNA Characteristics

The method allowing to predict the development of severe pre-eclampsia in pregnant women long before the appearance of the first symptoms was developed in the laboratory of molecular biology at the Research Centre for Medical Genetics. The method is based on the study of extracellular DNA characteristics, and its reliability has been proven by a scientific study in which more than 700 women participated. The Russian patent was received. 

Pre-eclampsia is a dangerous condition that threatens the development of placental insufficiency and hypotrophy (chronic malnutrition) of the fetus, and may result in an increased risk of a cerebrovascular accident for a mother in the future, and as a consequence - a stroke. Typical symptoms are arterial hypertension, oedema and proteinuria (increased protein concentration in urine), but a combination in which a doctor can foresee a dangerous condition is very rare. Pre-eclampsia often develops asymptomatically, and there is no reliable method to predict it to date.

It is important for doctors to have a preview tool to prognosticate pre-eclampsia from the second half of pregnancy, because this condition usually develops after the 20th week. Women who participated in the RCMG study had such a gestation period.

Pre-eclampsia is caused by a latent inflammation process that causes oxidative stress and cell death. However, it is almost impossible for a doctor to suspect it: laboratory tests show no abnormality, and a patient either has no complaints or her complaints are due to the natural state of pregnancy.

It has been proven that the increased extracellular DNA release is indicative of some kind of malfunction of the organism. However, if the release is delayed, the blood nuclease still eliminates the extracellular DNA excess, and the critical indicators may not be revealed at the time of a test of a patient. It is for this reason that the concentration of extracellular DNA was considered as a debatable indicator and was not considered as a reliable biomarker of oxidative stress until recently.

«Our method is based on research of extracellular DNA characteristics. Modern technology allows the detection of GC-enriched fragments in extracellular DNA, that is, sites with a large number of nucleotides of guanine and cytosine. Such fragments are resistant to the hydrolysis by blood plasma nucleases. Their significant increase in the composition of extracellular DNA speaks about the chronic pathology in a woman’s body, which is accompanied by an intense process of cell death», - said Svetlana Kostyuk, Holder of an Advanced Doctorate in Biological Sciences, Head of the molecular biology laboratory at RCMG.

Experts of the molecular biology laboratory at RCMG identified a number of characteristics of extracellular DNA, which allow to prognosticate reliably the development of severe pre-eclampsia.

The system is developed within the framework of support of applied scientific research of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation and is protected by the patent (2730958 «The Method of Diagnostics of Severe Pre-eclampsia in Pregnant Women»).